Down the Worry Hole We Go

Since school is back in session, and things are back to normal around here, Jerimiah is back to his previously scheduled trips to Baton Rouge each month. This week he had to fly out on Labor Day in what sounds like, to me anyway, one of those “If I have to be here, then you do to” sorta deals that bosses do. So that’s fun. This is the second holiday he should have spent with us this year, but instead was in Baton Rouge (he was called to work on Fourth of July as well). Before June this was old hat. He flies out for one week a month and Jackson and I are left here to do the mundane daily stuff without him. It was tough at first because we are a tight unit, but it’s getting easier. This month though, after being with him for a full five weeks straight (wow!) it has been a bit more difficult.

Sunday night we all headed to bed like any other night. Jerimiah tucked Jackson in, but instead of saying, “I love you. We are going to have a great day tomorrow, I will see you in the morning.” He said, “I won’t see you in the morning, I will see you Friday night.” Jackson said okay, and we headed for bed. A few moments later a crying Jackson came into our bedroom saying that he was afraid something bad was going to happen to daddy. What if the plane crashed? What if he never made it home to us? Why was his brain making him think about this?

I sorta froze at first. Jerimiah jumped into action, called him into our bed, held him while he cried. I was just so damn shocked. Not because Jackson has never had worries or anxiety like this before, but because he had said something new, that I have been saying for a couple of years now, “Why was my brain making me think this way?” He knew it was a worry. He knew it was anxiety, but he didn’t know how to stop it. I jumped into therapy mode and tried to emulate what my therapist says to me. Tried to get to the root of this particular thought. Jackson and his class have been tracking the hurricane, was he scared about that? Daddy assured him that Louisiana was safe this time. But it wasn’t that.

I started to ask more questions. Was it because he had read about a plane crash the other day? We saw it in the newspaper together. Maybe, he said. Was it because when we hiked Stone Mountain that day, Daddy needed to sit down at one point, when Jackson and I didn’t? I got another maybe. The bottom line he said, is that he was afraid something bad was going to happen to us. Man, that is tough to hear. Maybe all kids have this worry, some just don’t admit to it? Maybe I’m overreacting, but this shook me pretty hard.

I remember when I was his age. My mom would go out at night and leave me alone at home. She would tell me to lock the doors, and have the phone by me in case I needed it. I was always afraid, but I never told her. I wasn’t afraid to be home alone. I wasn’t afraid that someone would break into our house, or try to hurt me. I was worried that my mom would not come home. This was around the time my worry and anxiety started, and I am afraid he will be the same.

He ended up sleeping with us that night. He snuggled in between us, and we lulled him to sleep with silly stories of the day. He was laughing before he drifted off, and right before the Uber came for Daddy in the morning daddy kissed him and told him that he loved him. Jackson shot up in bed and said bye, and that he loved his daddy, then drifted back off to sleep. For that I was glad.

Jerimiah’s plane landed fine. He did his day and week of work, and we will see him tonight. But there was worry and anxiety floating in the air this time, one that I am just learning to deal with, let alone help my son combat. I tried to keep him busy, have some good Mommy and son time, and of course talk to daddy every night. I’m just nervous this is the beginning to more worry and anxiety for my son. I’m nervous I passed my mental illness down to him. I’m worried I’m at fault.

Man, this parenting thing is tough. We blame ourselves a lot. We worry and we wait. And we are never quite sure if we are doing things the right way. Or what the hell the right way even is. I’m sure you’re all struggling with something today, so here I am, sending big hugs to all of you out there doing it today. You’re doing just fine, Momma. You’re rocking it, daddy! Things will be okay.

M.

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